Thursday, November 29, 2007

Feeling Rushed - a.k.a. Chasing Peace

I am reminded why I take every December off for our homeschooling. Mentally, I am not there. No, I am thinking of getting on-line to order those photos for some gifts and for Christmas cards, I am thinking of the craft supplies I need, when I can get to finishing that knitting project and when I can get to X, Y, or Z. I don't want to be like this, but it seems to creep up on me every year. I think my mind just kind of flips a switch after Thanksgiving every year and my focus just gets puuuulllled away. It's not the kids who are distracted, it's the mom!

Thank goodness November gave us one extra week this year. Even though I feel rushed, I can still say it's November for two more days!

And thank God I won the drawing over at Kelli's place! She was sponsoring a giveaway of Marybeth Whalen's new Christmas eBook, A Recipe for Christmas Joy. That's the cover design up at the top of my post. Her website describes the book as containing, "recipes, ideas, encouragement and thoughts on keeping Jesus at the center of your Christmas celebration. This book was designed to help you find that Christmas JOY your heart is longing for!" Aaaahhh. That sounds just about right! I can't wait to (find the time to) read it! If you'd like to learn more about her book or order your own copy, be sure to visit Marybeth's site at Cheaper by the Half Dozen.

Thanks, Kelli and Marybeth!

In fits and spurts I have been putting the Autumn decorations away and working at cleaning before putting up the new ones hopefully this weekend. Eve was inspired and decided to get a little decorating done herself in the dollhouse. This dollhouse is one that we've had since Maia was two. It's a Fischer-Price dollhouse, but the original family has long since moved out. Currently the Bunny family from Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corner reside there. It seems they are more festive than the last family and today they decided to put up their tree.

I found a pattern for the tree at Enchanted Learning. Don't you just love that wonderful site? They have many wonderful craft ideas over there for this time of year - and really all year round too! Eve spent some time gluing on the decorations this afternoon and now it's front and center in the Bunnys' new home.

Some day I'd love to have my own dollhouse to do seasonal decorating... and miniatures making... and designing... Every time this time of year I get that old familiar longing. My wish was almost granted last Christmas. Paul even drove out to the dollhouse store that was a half hour away only to find that they had closed shop. :( He got me my well-loved iPod instead, so I can't complain, but I still think that some day...

Well, I'm off to Snapfish to do some photo ordering. Hope you're enjoying these last November days and keeping a peaceful countenance about you! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Look at our Thanksgiving

Whew! Not only do we bloggers have our homes to consider for the holiday season, but we have our blogs too! I finally got a chance to do a bit of "housekeeping" around here after our long and lovely Thanksgiving weekend. Did all of you have a nice time? I have been busy taking down our Autumn decor (*sigh* - it's been a nice season) and preparing to decorate for Christmas. The first thing to find will be the Advent wreath... now where did I put that?... But first things first!

Mom and Jerry hosted Thanksgiving this year and Mom had such a lovely and festive table!

Jerry found these little statues at Michael's on the teeny-tiny table that was left with Thanksgiving decorations; everything surrounding it was Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

Oh, but I am glad he found them! I think they are wonderful!

Our host and hostess:
The next day we woke up bright and early for the 6 1/2 hour drive to my uncle and aunt's place in GA. We arrived a little before 1:00 p.m. - just in time for more kitchen preparations for the big, annual, day-after-Thanksgiving, hot dog cook-out!

Aunt Judye and Heather are unloading bag after bag... after bag... of groceries for the big party!

A gorgeous Thanksgiving moon. And how about that lavender sky?

As the sun was setting I had to go out to the field to get some pictures of the children running around with the dogs and playing tag.

I convinced them all to take a break and pose for a picture before the sun went down.

Do you think they are having a good time? :)

And the grown-ups were having some fun too around the bonfire.

Here's the tail end of Little Bit, my aunt and uncle's new dog that showed up and adopted them last month. He was having too much fun to stop and pose for a picture! No one's come to claim him yet; he's a sweet, sweet dog. I hope he'll still be there next year!

Just about time for a hayride...

but we needed sustenance at "S'more Central" first!

After the hayride, it was time for serious, professional entertainment!

Here, the girls and I are singing "Silver Bells."

Just before they left, I got one parting photo with my cousin, Heather. What a nice time we had! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Thank you for stopping by. And now we head into Christmas! :) Hooray!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to You!

See, we really do have some Autumn in Florida!
This is some of the view from our back yard.

To all my American friends, I would like to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Last night, as we sat around the table, I said to the girls, "Have you thought about what you are thankful for? Do you know what you plan to share on Thursday?" Maia (newly 11 this past Friday!) jumped right in and said, "I am thankful for my pets! And for God. I'm thankful for my family and my house and my friends... and for angiosperms!"

For those who don't know, a hint is to "think botany." :)

Then Eve (8) chimed in, "I'm not thankful for robbers."

"Or murderers?" Daddy said.

"Oh, not murderers!... Or manslaughter!"

?! Manslaughter?

And so goes the family meal table at our house.

Morning Silhouette
Great Egret by Sparkle Pond this morning

I, too, have been thinking of things for which I am thankful. First, I guess, after a number of years of upheaval, I have been thankful... so thankful... for a peaceful year.

I could say the things most everyone thinks about too: my relationship with God, my family, my friends, my health, my home, the beauty of the great world around me and the creatures which inhabit it.

But, thinking smaller, here are a few specific things I'm thankful for this year:

- the internet: SO amazing and my homeschooling would be a completely different thing without it. Actually, my life would be so different without it.

- blogs: fascinating and fun... and very often, FREE! Thanks, Blogger!

- podcasts: I am hooked and am so impressed with the creativity and conversation that is out there

- Ravelry: I think, as a knitter, I'm supposed to say this. :) I am thankful for the genius behind it and all the potential it holds for the future.

- My subscriptions to Home Companion and Country Living: Yep. I'm being honest here, folks. I LOVE getting my magazines in the mail. It's like a little present from me to me! :) And I'm not just a looker with these. Oh, no, they are Project Potential! My magazines get cut up and reorganized into my journal, made into collages, decorate letters, and get made into gifts.

- The used books at the Goodwill bookstore by my home and from It's hard not to be thankful when the $3.99 s & h costs more than the hardcover book itself!

Yea! New-to-me Susan Branch Books!

- Flickr: It's just fun to play with and share my pictures. There are SO many things you can do - and so much more that I could be doing with my digital camera (something else I'm thankful for) - but one only has so many hours in the day...

- Knitting: puts my mind at ease and challenges it at the same time. The tactile nature of this craft (and crochet too, though I am much more a novice at that) and the beauty and pleasure of holding the tools is really divine. The addiction grows a bit more every day...

Well, that's just a few things that I am thankful for this year. Seemingly superficial, but meaningful to me.

My dog, Lucy
See the tip of her tongue? It's always sticking out!

As I said, I hope you all enjoy your holiday wherever you are. If you are not in the U.S., I wish you a warm and wonderful weekend. We are off to my uncle's place in Georgia after a local family gathering tomorrow. In GA, we will have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, have a hayride, and sing karaoke in a small airplane hangar on my aunt and uncle's ranch. We have lots of good food, cousins, laughter, and sing Christmas carols together. We checked out a bunch of DVD's for the car ride. I am, BTW, not a proponent of DVD viewing in the car; I like old-fashioned car games, talking, drawing, etc. But last year, after bumper-to-bumper traffic home from Fort Valley, GA until we hit Tampa, with children crying and practically pulling their hair out saying, "I can't take it anymore!!! When will we ever get home????" we're going to be a bit more prepared this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buying Handmade

This year for Christmas, of course, I am making gifts. I am knitting steadily every night and and a few other little ideas up my crafty sleeve. But, this year I am giving myself a little break from feeling the need to do. it. all. For example, beyond your basic pillow or other straight seam, I simply am not a seamstress. I have learned over time that I do not have the patience for it. I do, however, love hand-sewn garments and other items.

So this year I am hiring elves - or rather shopping in elves' shops - to find some of the gifts I will be giving this year. I mentioned this to a few people and strangely enough to me, no one I spoke with had heard of Etsy. ?!?! Okay, perhaps I shouldn't just assume... I guess if you're not into the (GIGANTIC) craft/DIY scene, I guess it's possible that you, too, might not know what I'm talking about. Well, if not, click on over there and browse from the millions of hand made items!

Personally, I cannot necessarily afford some of the items there. Being hand made - and therefore one-of-a-kind - the folks making them are trying to build their own little businesses and so some of the things are pricier than that toy that you might pick up at the Big Box from China. But there are plenty of other things - slightly smaller items - that are priced just right for my budget. I purchased two pretty, frilly aprons, sized to fit just them, for two of my little nieces and a reversible cape (Spider Man fabric on one side and The Incredibles design on the other) with a mask for my nephew. All three fit my Christmas budget very nicely!

Just some of the categories of products offered are as follows: art, bags and purses, books and zines, clothing, crochet, glass, holiday, housewares, jewelry, knitting, music, needlecraft, paper goods, pets, plants and edibles, quilts, toys, vintage, woodworking and more!

So, if you're stumped for an idea, consider supporting someone else's dream of having their own business and give something totally unique too. You'll be spreading even a little more Christmas cheer this year - both to the seller and receiver. Consider buying handmade this year!

OH! And P.S. If you are still wanting to do some of your own crafting this holiday season, hop on over to Craft Leftovers where Kristen puts up a new, FREE craft pattern every week using scraps of other projects you may have used or found at the thrift store. She has all sorts of great ideas over there for quick little things that would make nice little gifts or stocking stuffers. Click on her archives for some great ideas. Oh, and Kristen has her own Etsy shop too, which you can find on her website. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Need a "Not To-Do" List

We've had a nice weekend with spectacular November weather! It has me thinking that November may be another of my favorite Florida months, just behind April.

Maia's 11th birthday was this Friday. This was the friend/event year for her too. On alternating years we have parties for the girls at home or they invite one friend to an event of their choice. It could be a movie or bowling or the like. This year Maia chose ice skating! I considered the day a success, because in the 90 minutes I was on the ice I didn't fall down once! Maia skated by and said, "Mama, you're doing a good job - much better!" I said, "I've always skated like this. I just don't like to do it, because I don't like to fall!"

I had one terrible fall on my rear a few years ago and quickly retired the rollerblades after that. Maia has since inherited them. I'm just fine on my bicycle, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, the skating itself was invigorating! I was happy to know that I could be indoors and so cold, but then I could walk out into the warm Florida afternoon and leave all that cold behind!

I did spend some time on my bicycle this weekend too. Frankly, I really need to be finding time - taking time - for more exercise. I relied last year on our walks and rides and the once-weekly ride to the park for our homeschool P.E. day. We've had to be meeting at another park temporarily, though, this year, since there was some work going on at the park closer to us and so have not been riding, as it is quite a bit farther away. After the new year we will be back closer again, but in the meantime, I need to find some room in the schedule to get more regular exercise.

So today was my Sabbath and I really didn't have any one thing pressing, but the same thing happened that always happens and I think this is particularly amusing that I was listening to the Creative Mom Podcast today and she began talking about this very thing simultaneous to it happening to me. I get a certain window of time for myself and all of a sudden it's like when you have your baby and your baby finally falls asleep. Now, what should you do with your time?! Sleep while the baby is sleeping (which is the advice everyone gives and seems to be rarely followed)? Read a book? Do the dishes? Work on that craft project (or two or three)? Blog?

On the drive home from church, I actually pictured myself lying on the grass in the autumn sun and reading a book and perhaps dozing off. Did I do that? No I did not. I did eat my lunch out on the picnic table. But then I watered the garden and then remembered something I wanted to look up online. So, I gave myself about an hour online and then I started feeling like I ought to get outside into the glorious weather and do some moving around. So, I decided to take a bike ride while the girls were occupied playing with the neighbor girl. But, I kid you not, something like THREE minutes into my ride I started feeling like I ought to be back at home either writing to one of my penpals or working on knitted Christmas gifts or do some Christmas planning in my journal. All pleasurable things, to be sure, but they picked away at my sense of well-being and kept me from remaining in the present moment, which is the only place I ought to be!

In my head I know that the work really never ends and if you are going to take a Sabbath rest, you need to allow the work just to rest too. It will be there when you return. I read Wayne Muller's, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. Perhaps it is a book I need to revisit. Perhaps I need to consider renewing that resolution of 2006 of observing the Sabbath each and every week. I have not let it completely slip away from me, but I have not made the concerted effort I did before, either.

And, crazy as it seems, it is an effort.

For me, anyway, really achieving the blessings a Sabbath offers, I find I need to plan and prepare for it. I need to know that we'll have plenty of leftovers in the fridge for the family to help themselves to, or I need to have something easy to put into the crock pot. I also probably need to think about what I do or do not want to do on this day, so that I don't have that monkey mind nagging at me to be doing something - anything, it seems - rather than whatever it is I am doing!!

And now, here it is 10:50 p.m. and while I have rested some, I do not feel as rested as I know I could if my mind was rested too.

So. To implement:

-Regular observation of the Sabbath
-Prepare ahead of time, so that there is as little work to do as possible
-List things I do want to do (only a very few!!), so that I don't have other things calling to me in the midst of doing them
- Let my family know that I will be refreshing my commitment to this
- Check out Muller's book at the library to read - on my next Sabbath! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Market Day Thoughts

Mmmm. Sometimes I wish I could just live off of tea and coffee and yummy beverages. This is the time of year for eggnog and other delightful drinks and I like nearly all of them. I like the seasonal soymilks: nogs and a pumpkin spice one that I am sipping on right now. I love hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and all the ways to enjoy coffee: pumpkin lattes, peppermint, mocha, whipped cream on top, sprinkles of cinnamon or chocolate shavings, or both! And a hot cup of Earl Grey tea is divine with touch of sugar and milk. Speaking of tea, I saw Twining's Lady Grey tea along with my familiar Earl Grey. Have any of you tried it? If you enjoy Earl Grey, do you like it as well? I'm thinking of picking some up next time. I'd love to hear your opinions.

We have all these things in our fully-stocked pantry now, having gone to the first day, grand- opening of the new market just up the street. I've never been to the first day opening of a store. It was crowded and fun. I started kind of wondering if I need a little bit more excitement in my life when I actually look forward to a new grocery store opening. But, you know, I wasn't the only one. Like I said, it was crowded. And I think they had nearly all of their staff on hand to welcome us!

The girls had a great time sampling the different items offered at the ends of nearly every aisle. The fountain of flowing chocolate in which you drenched a strawberry on a stick was, hands-down, the biggest hit for them. The free, reusable shopping bag to add to my collection was the best bonus for me!

So, why the excitement? Well, you know, like probably most of you readers, spend a lot of time in grocery stores. Would I rather be in a beautiful, open-air market where I could stroll every other day and pick the freshest, local ingredients? You bet I would. Do I have that? No. I do have a number of farmers market options available to me each about 20 minutes or more away from me. Whole Foods is a half hour drive. This store is a three-minute drive or 10 minute bike ride. Until Whole Foods or Wild Oats builds something nearer to me, I will really only be able to go there once-a-month. On those days I'll swing by the bread outlet on the way to stock our freezer with day-old, half price bread, buns, English muffins, etc. The other markets will just have to be more specialty stops, because I simply do not have the time - or gas money - to spend getting out to those places.

There is actually another store that is a smidgen closer, but this new one is known for its exceptional service and I love that. I like when the folks working there really seem to know what they are doing and care about what they are doing. So many big-box stores nowadays have employees that feel (and likely are) expendable, and so they have poor attitudes that are passed on in their service. I don't know what this store does for its employees, but they really are a knowledgeable, professional bunch.

My intention is to become known at this store. I would like to know some of the folks by name there. I suspect some will get to know me rather well, as I will be needing to make special orders. It seems they don't regularly carry Organic Valley cheeses and I do not want to buy Horizon cheeses, because of their factory farming practices. I was told, though, that they can do special orders for me on a regular basis if I want and, so, yes, I want.

I want, because I don't want to have to drive all over creation to get the good food for my family that I desire to give them.

I want, because, for crying out loud, gas is over $3.00 a gallon! (I am not completely unhappy about this, knowing that the continuing hikes in gas prices will be the continuing push for more widely-available, cleaner energy.)

I want, because I want to be able to spend the majority of my time in and around this area so that my children and I can begin to feel more connected to this place (this is connected to a larger theme that I will try to post on soon here) - this place where, after 4 years, still doesn't really feel like home, but seems to be starting to.

So, again, here I am having deep philosophical thoughts connected to my grocery shopping! Too funny. I guess when you are a homeschooling SAHM and this is your sphere of influence and interaction, you'll get it from wherever and whenever it may come!! Mind you, I 'm not berating any of it; I know the political power of food and that how we moms spend that food dollar impacts a great number of people and markets and lives - human and animal. Maybe that's why I end up so introspective on marketing day. The choices we make do count. I am trying to make good ones.

All images can be found at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Decorating for Thanksgiving

This week Kelli is hosting a week of ideas for Thanksgiving at her blog. There will be decorating, organizing, recipes and more from all who participate. Be sure to stop in and see what everyone is cooking up!

Thanksgiving Day is going to be at my mom's this year. That doesn't stop me from casting a mood in our own home, of course! While I won't have family around my table on the 20th, I did just have friends over for my Hand-Made party (you can read about that here and here!), so our home was ready to welcome guests!

Here, the sideboard waits to be filled with dishes to pass. I wish I had gotten a chance to take a picture the other night with all the pretty, yummy plates and sparkly glasses, but I did not. The sideboard was given to me by my mom and was in her late husband's family.

Maia and I collected Brazilian Pepperberry the other day over at the nature trail. *GASP* Before you tell me not to ever take something from a park, you should know that Brazilian Pepperberry is an invasive species to Florida that county extension officers would be happy for anyone to destroy. It's too bad, because it really is so pretty - which is why it ended up here in the first place! But it is rampant and pushes out other native species, including the beloved mangrove along the Florida coastline. It is also terribly hard to get rid of. You have to literally burn the stump of this giant shrub or cut it down and then "paint" the herbicide over the stump for it to die. So, despite the funny looks one guy gave me as I walked through the woods with my clippers and bag full of pretty branches, it really is okay. In fact, I was careful to put any leftover berries - not in my compost bin - but in a knotted plastic bag in the garbage.

I'll likely go back later for more to make a wreath!

This tin pitcher is one I got at an antique store a number of years ago in Minnesota. Yes, it's dented a bit on one side, but I don't mind that and it was only seven dollars. It makes a great vase for tall wildflowers in the spring and summer, and a nice centerpiece to be used in many ways.

I dressed up the hurricane glass to set our on the coffee table. I started by borrowing a bit of sand from the sandbox... The little pine cones and other sparkly bits were from a little bag on sale at Michael's for a dollar the other day. Pepperberry found its way here too!

All dressed up and ready to shine all the way through Christmas!

And now on to the coffee table where it belongs! Candles, candles, candles! I love my candles! The spiced cider one on the left is especially delicious! The napkin under the hurricane glass was embroidered by my grandmother.

Now, Meredith said never to use flashes in your blog photos, but this was just way to dark to put up otherwise! We're not great fans of the mirror over our fireplace. The house was built in 1986 and the mirror and the bright, white tiles seem to reflect (no pun intended) that quite clearly. But, since we don't have one huge designing budget, we work with what we have for the time being.

Clarice at Storybook Woods made this garland tutorial available last year. I'm sure you could dig it up in her archives if you like.

A Mary Engelbreit print from her Home Companion magazine. I subscribe to this (and destroy them for SO many projects! :) ); this was a print from last year. The quote is one from Ralph Waldo Emerson and says, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is not path and leave a trail."

I painted these letters from Michael's the other day. A tip of the hat to Dawn for the great idea (she has so many!). See, there is a little bit of the blogosphere all over my house!

And finally, for today, the simple table covering with a pumpkin spice candle in the middle for more good smells. If I were having company today, I'd probably dress up the centerpiece, but this is our every day table.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit the rest of the tour over at Kelli's place! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

And a Good Time Was Had by All

The party went very well! Hooray! Eight lovely friends joined me for an evening of crafting, conversation and snacking. Now, don't get me wrong, we homeschooling families love being with our children - in fact, we have chosen our careers based on that - but, because they are with us all the time, it is quite nice to have some time for us mom's to get together four our own "playdate" once in a while.

Regretfully, I do not have pictures to share. :( I was so busy mingling and admiring all the neat projects that I really forgot to take photos! There was a wide variety of projects going on too: Tara brought her crochet, which ended up in a big yarn knot that Susan happily untangled so as to avoid the counted crosstitch that was annoying her! Susan is one of those people, like my husband, who likes to weed gardens too. Weeding and untangling are not really my thing, but it was great to have someone like that at our craft party! Jennifer brought Thanksgiving cards to make and Teresa was getting a jump-start addressing Christmas cards. I taught Kim and Heather to knit! Yea! Another Kim brought a little latch-hook rug she was working on for her daughter and Angie brought punch-needle embroidery.

We drank hot-spiced cider and pumpkin lattes. I made Pumpkin Butterscotch bread, which you can find here, and pesto-stuffed, baby portabella mushrooms, caramel corn, and all the other munchies the guests brought.

This was an easy party to plan and put together. I highly recommend it if you are wanting an excuse to share your home and gather together with your friends. Everyone has some sort of project they are usually working at trying to finish, whether it be labeling photo albums or making a gift for someone. This is a great way to motivate and push those procrastinated projects to the foreground once more. I'm sure I'll be planning another one in the near future - but definitely after the holidays!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Good Stress

Happy Friday, Everyone. Oh, I feel so bad that I've hardly posted at all this week, but I have been getting ready for my Hand-Made Party, which is tonight!

You know, I have a hospitality streak in me, but I don't know that it comes naturally, because I expend a lot of energy readying myself for whatever the event is. Even if I'm not actually doing something, I am mentally planning or rearranging my to-do list. In fact, if I woke up in the middle of the night this week, I had to tell myself, "Nicole, do NOT start thinking about what you have to do! Just go back to sleep!" Strangely enough, that worked!

I'll be a lot calmer tomorrow and will have photos and things to share. Next week I plan on participating in Kelli's Giving Thanks week. I also plan to poke around the blogs that were featured on Dawn's site this week for the Carnival of "Living Lives of Loveliness."

I hope you've all had a great week and will have a refreshing weekend. I have to run and do just a few more things! :) I hope to be back to a more regular posting schedule soon.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Little Things

The weather has been just plain too-great to want to sit down and post! This morning, Maia said, "It's finally seeming like Autumn lately!" and it's true. Overnight Thursday of last week, the temperature dropped 10 degrees and stayed there. It's been just lovely.

Something else that has helped has been the time change from Daylight Saving to Standard time. It's so funny, but only just this morning did I realize that this very thing is what was "wrong" with Halloween this year. The girls went out with Daddy, Grandma Jeanette, and Jerry this year while I had the honors of "Candy Hander-Outer." We usually head out around 7:00 p.m., but this year, as 7:00 crept closer and closer, the sun didn't seem to have any inkling of deciding to set anytime soon. The girls were growing more and more fidgety. "Can we go NOW?" they kept asking. "It's not even dark yet," I replied. Somehow, it didn't even dawn on me until now, just why it seemed strangely light.

But now things finally seem to be set aright. The weather is cooler and the light has mellowed. How strange it is that these things really seem to settle themselves in our bodies; it's not just what the calendar is telling us. It really is "the little things."

Knitting continues as we head into the holidays... the holidays that once again, seem strangely sudden! And so the knitting, too, has kept me from the blog (just as the blog, at the moment, is keeping me from teaching school...).

What are your plans this year for Thanksgiving? The last two years we have traveled up to my uncle and aunt's ranch in Georgia on the day after Thanksgiving. They throw a big party/cookout every year in the airplane hangar they have on their property; my uncle flies a small plane. We have a hay ride, a bonfire, hot chocolate, toast marshmallows and sing karaoke songs. It's a great kickoff toward Christmas with lots of family and friends.

My mom and Jerry will host Thanksgiving Day at their house this year, so the pressure is off for me. I just need to bring the Wheatberry Salad I made last year, along with the Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice soup that I make every year. The soup is SUPER rich, with whippping cream and half-and-half which is why I only make it once a year. But I've started reading this book and I'm thinking it might not be so bad after all (I'm still veg., though! :) )

So, I don't have too much to do for the actual holiday myself, but we are reading these books to set the savory stage:

The earth is turning. The changing light, the cooler air, cuddling on the couch for stories, the presence of "cozy." :) The little things.
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